Category Archives: Caribbean Plus Lit News

Literary news of interest from the Caribbean and wider world

Lit News (Whaaaat!)

I got an invite to the Miami Book Fair. Big up to Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure Lost Cover Front 4which landed me a spot on the ReadCaribbean Presents Adventures for Kids panel. Grateful for the opportunities #TheWritingLife affords me now and again to go somewhere and talk about my books and share the worlds and characters I’ve ‘created’. Plus my life (both my actual life and my writing life) could use this little reprieve right about now; so I look forward to being there.

There is Children’s Alley at the Miami Book Fair on November 18th at 4 p.m. I’ll be sharing the stage with Trini-American Marjuan Canady (Callaloo: The Trickster and the Magic Quilt), Jamaican Paula-Anne Porter Jones (Sandy, Tosh and the Moo Cow), and Haitian-American Francie Latour (Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings).

My book is, of course, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. If you’re in the Miami area (and especially if you hail from Antigua and Barbuda), I’ll be looking out for you.

Shout out to Caribbean Reads Publishing, the Caribbean/US indie which has published not only Lost! but Musical Youth. And shout out to the organizers of the MBF; looking forward to it.

***

Also, be sure to check out Antigua and Barbuda’s own Asher Otto jamming with international star Joss Stone on a beach. I write all about it (my love of Joss’ series and Asha’s music) in CREATIVE SPACE 11 – be sure to check it out – and anyone out there wanting to sponsor a future CREATIVE SPACE post, contact me at jhohadli at gmail dot com

Annnd shout out to Kimolisa Mings on her new book Into the Black Widow’s Web.41688072_10155549848492633_5636677081694732288_n I’ll be adding it to the Antigua and Barbuda bibliography here on the site as soon as I can. Meanwhile don’t sleep on it. Still forthcoming, I believe, is another book, this one, The Flowers in her Hair, by Linisa George39861953_691690201194663_8050367295236603904_n; so keep an eye  out for that. Already here, shout out to the Barbudan sister, is Asha Frank’s Dreamland Barbuda. Asha was scheduled to be a panelist at the Brooklyn Book Fair (a panel called Force of Nature – Writing a Hurricane) earlier in September and her book is on local bookshelvesAsha; check it out. Also a New Daughters of Africa is cominguntitled…and I have some news about that but for now that’s all the tease you get.

Finally, a reminder to check out the updates in Reading Room 30, Opportunities Too, Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, and Writing Antigua Barbuda ; and remember Support the Arts and, it should go without saying but sadly needs to be said, PAY ARTISTS!

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Classic: in Conversation with three Caribbean Authors (2010)

I actually just found (re-found?) this one. It’s one of the interviews I did in 2010 in the lead-up to the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival (remember when we had one of those?). It’s a bit dated – and given that the literary festival is now defunct, some of the commentary is sadly ironic – but I thought I’d share it for your reading pleasure.

Exif JPEG

This is a photo from the first Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival in 2006. I don’t believe this ran with the original piece but it includes two of the interviewed authors – Elizabeth Nunez and Verna Wilkins, 2nd and 3rd from left. I am at the far right.

One-on-one with three regional authors
November 3, 2010   Joanne C. Hillhouse  Arts and Culture, Specials

Daily OBSERVER caught up recently with three authors slated for this year’s literary festival, November 4 to 7.

All esteemed award recipients, they are: Belizean Zee Edgell, author of Beka Lamb, In Times Like These, The Festival of San Joaquin, and Time and the River; Trinidadian Elizabeth Nunez, author of Anna In-Between, Prospero’s Daughter, Bruised Hibiscus, Grace, Discretion, When Rocks Dance, and Beyond the Limbo Silence; and Grenadian Verna Wilkins, founder of Tamarind Books in the UK and a children’s.

Each was asked the same questions; here are their answers.

Daily OBSERVER What can people expect from you for the 2010 literary festival?

Zee Edgell: I hope to participate in workshops, the panel discussions, do readings, meet with students and the general public and do book signings.

Elizabeth Nunez: Reading and discussion of my latest novel, Anna In-Between, as well as the story of my development as a writer. I will also talk a little about the state of publishing fiction today and directions for the future.

Verna Wilkins: People can expect (me) to share 23 years of my experience in the UK both as founder and publisher of the well respected multicultural Tamarind Books list and as an author of 35 children’s books.

DO: …what, if anything, in your view sets the lit fest in Antigua apart?

ZE: Visiting schools, and meeting with students in Antigua were the outstanding features…

EN: What sets this Festival apart is the easy accessibility to writers and the informal atmosphere that encourages interaction between emerging and established writers.

VW: What sets ABILF apart for me is the fact that it makes contacts with schools and teachers possible. The discussion forums are enlightening and meaningful.

DO: …has it evolved, in your view?

ZE: I’ve attended one literary festival in Antigua, so I’m not able to comment on this evolution.

EN: What is extraordinary is that the organizers have managed to continue this festival in spite of the financial challenges of the times. The festival continues to seek out popular writers but at the same time is committed to giving voice to new writers as well as literary writers who have not enjoyed a wide reading audience. Participants get introduced to books that they would not ordinarily have known.

DO: Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to this year?

ZE: I am looking forward to the activities listed…also to seeing more of Antigua.

EN: I am looking forward to hearing Lorna Goodison, whose poetry touches the heart and opens windows to the Caribbean world both known and unknown.

VW: I am looking forward this year to discussing ‘The Reluctant Reader’ with teachers and carers with a view to putting in place strategies for re-engaging with books.

DO: You’ve seen the festival line up, is there anyone in particular you’re hoping to engage – and why?

ZE: I am hoping to engage as many participants as possible.

EN: I love the line up and can’t wait to hear all the writers.

VW: I am looking forward to engaging with the writers who do grown-up books in various genres; hopefully an enabling process to write for adults and to get started on my autobiography.

DO: …Can you speak to why festivals of this nature should persist in these tough economic times?

ZE: I am not able to answer this question, especially as so many people are in economic difficulties.

EN: All the major movements in the world have been propelled by books. The great works of writers such as CLR James and George Lamming set the foundation for independence in the Caribbean, and writers such as (James) Baldwin, (Richard) Wright and (Zora Neale) Hurston helped usher in the civil rights movement in the U.S. We need writers not only to entertain us with stories, but also to mirror our societies, give us a sense of who we are and who we can be.

VW: Festivals should persist through these financial times so that we can continue to share ideas which might take us to a brighter future.

DO: What do you think of the lit fest’s emphasis on youth?

ZE: I think, where possible, a love of reading should be encouraged from the cradle. A literary festival focused (on) Caribbean youth is a great contribution to the present and future development of the Caribbean.

EN: This is an excellent idea. Young people need models so that they have living proof of what is possible for them to attain.

VW: The emphasis on youth is dear to me. I write children’s books because I firmly believe that children who engage with books in the early year, the years in which the personality takes shape and attitudes are formed, tend to achieve academically. They also acquire a good vocabulary and can tap into various types of reading…for study or for pleasure…(also) the interaction with published authors gives them invaluable opportunities to speak with role models for success.

DO: Who would be on your wish list for a future ABILF?

ZE: My wish list would include reading and writing workshops for small groups of interested students.

EN: More Caribbean writers from the region and the diaspora.

DO: …in what directions would you like to see (the festival) grow and how do you think it could begin to do so?

ZE: I think a greater emphasis should be placed on obtaining funding for the festival. In general, most writers do not earn very much from their writing. Although airfares and accommodation are provided to writers, attending a festival without honorariums or fees is quite expensive for most writers, at any time. Funding for fees and/or adequate honorariums would assist writers to more easily participate in the Festival. Perhaps experts who may be economically able to volunteer could be recruited to write grant proposals to funding agencies, the business and professional communities, and individuals who might wish to contribute as partners …

DO: …what’s your favourite memory (from past ABILFs)?

ZE: I enjoyed meeting the students, fellow participants, including the Festival organizers, and seeing something of Antigua.

VW: My favourite memory of the festivals is meeting other black authors from the US and sharing their wide range of writing. I learned a lot and my confidence as a writer grew.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Antiguan and Barbudan Authors in New Photography Book: Author

You might be interested to know that three Antiguans-Barbudans are included among the 200 images in the new book Author: the Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan.

This collection features multi-award winning, critically acclaimed darlings (Salman Rushdie who also wrote the book’s foreword, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood whose Handmaid’s Tale is itself currently an award winning, critically acclaimed darling, Jonathan Franzen, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jamaica’s own Marlon James, Claudia Rankine, and Ishion Hutchinson, Wole Soyinka, Jacqueline Woodson, Colson Whitehead), commercially successful heavyweights (David Baldacci, J. K. Rowling whose Harry Potter series is its own sub-industry, Neil Gaiman, Walter Mosely, John Irving, Irvine Welsh), authors known for pushing the conversation forward (Noam Chomsky, Malcolm Gladwell, Gloria Steinem, Charles M. Blow, Masha Gessen, Roxane Gay), authors of note who have passed to the after life (E. L. Doctorow, Chinua Achebe, Edward Albee), the uncategorizable (John Lewis, Joe Biden), and (for me) personal favourites (Tayari Jones, Edwidge Dandicat).

Author

The three Antiguan and Barbudan authors are Jamaica Kincaid (born Elaine Potter Richardson in Antigua, now US based and one of the most celebrated authors out of the Caribbean) – author of At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, Annie Gwen Lilly Pam and Tulip, A Small Place, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr. Potter, My Garden Book, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas, See Now Then; Rowan Ricardo Phillips (who is technically American of Antiguan-Barbudan descent, which counts in my view) – author of The Ground, Heaven, When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness, The Circuit: a Tennis Odyssey, and a translation of Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth; and (yours truly) Joanne C. Hillhouse – author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure.

I don’t have the images but I can try to describe them – Ricardo Phillips, for instance, is wearing a blue striped suit and lying on his stomach, legs crossed and raised behind him so that his soles are in view, posed with a book – Lustra by Ezra Pound; Ms. Kincaid is in close up, wearing black on black, red lipstick, one of her signature head scarves, eyes meeting the camera head-on; while my (JCH) eyes are closed, face – and mouth- open in laughter, with red hair and zebra stripes. My picture was not a posed or commissioned portrait so much as a candid in the green room of the Westbeth Centre, where I was in 2014 for a reading as part of the PEN World Voices Festivals’ Literary Safari.

I got a copy in the mail just last week and have been reading it over the weekend. The author shares his stories of how some of his photographs were made and a bit of his own journey as a photographer – in the introduction. The stories make me curious to go back and read what he said about each photo. That’s Donna Tartt on the cover by the way, author of The Goldfinch and The Secret History, whom he asked for her poise and grace but by his own words didn’t really need to since she brought it. Wild to be in this collection with so many lions of literature; humbled to be in their company.

A couple of launches are scheduled for New York in the fall. Visit the photographer’s page for details.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Wanted: Offspring, Talent, Inheritance and Assets Management

I told you I’d be reaching out to Lawrence Jardine for permission to re-publish the paper he originally published in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books 2018 edition. Before that, the paper was presented at the University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda, the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association, and the National Youth Enlightenment Academy hosted 12th annual Antigua and Barbuda Conference in 2017; specifically on the African Caribbean Liberation Movement (ACLM) panel on Friday 11th August 2017. Now, it is presented here for your dissection and discussion; hope you find it as interesting a read as I did. Author bio at the end. – JCH

warri

This image was not part of the original article but you know we need visuals for the blog; so what better to open with than the game that opens the piece – the African-Caribbean game of warri.

In Antigua and Barbuda we play a game called Warri, which is our national game. This game, which was played by kings, was brought here by our African ancestors. In the 1980s, I often stopped at the Bata Shoes Store pavement to watch Warri masters play. I can recall Dagon, a soft spoken character when compared to his peers, masterfully playing stump, which is the local name given to Warri’s endgame. It is at stump time – the endgame – when players concentrate most fiercely, displaying craft, patience and foresight, trying to acquire the final decisive seeds. During this battling period of stump – the endgame – players repetitively tally their seeds – doing the math. The player who captures the most seeds wins. Instructively, seed is a synonym for offspring. With that connection made, we could say that Warri is an African game for dignified men, engaged in meticulous offspring corralling and management. However, in 1997, Antigua and Barbuda’s Miss Saklie Richards became the World Warri Champion. From 1998 to 2002, it was Grand Master Trevor Simon, and in 2006, Grand Master September Christian won the World Warri Championship. On their journey to this prestigious title, they defeated players from Europe and our Motherland – because of their mastery of the endgame. We have not yet converted this achievement and talent to an industry. An endgame not envisioned, not realized.

Saklie Richards, Trevor Simon and September Christian, in collaboration with students at the Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology, could have been commissioned to develop the definitive Warri software and smart phone app. That is, a computer Warri program against which local students and international players would compete. Of course, this would include a database to track the performance of top local students, thereby providing useful statistical information for STEM planning. My question really is, could Warri – our national game – an old gift from Africa, in a computerized version, as a component of an organized software industry in this electronic age, increase our foreign exchange earnings and directly employ one hundred (100) persons? Could these, what I call Talent and Tech industries, diminish the effect of Sandals Resort International’s punitive decision to close for five months, thereby affecting seven hundred (700) employees? In his book, Black and White The Way I See It, the visionary Richard Williams, father of tennis super stars Venus and Serena, illustrated the potential of sports, and, perhaps more importantly, the art and wisdom of stump as he managed his offspring to fame and fortune. What if Mr. Williams was an advisor and honorary director of the Antigua and Barbuda Sports Economy Board? Mr. Williams could also be a member of our Citizen by Intelligence Program (CIP). Preoccupied with the old relationships and developmental economic models, we fail to see, to believe and to invest in our own and the talents that we possess. What if we had Sir Vivian Richards International School of Sports, a state of the art Sports Academy? This institution would showcase our finest sport performance professionals – nutritionists, educators, historians, therapists, psychologists, strategists, etc. They would converge to produce the finest offspring. In addition to its positive effect on West Indies Cricket, probable direct employment one hundred (100) persons. But we have Crossroads and the American University of Antigua, among others. Why don’t we believe and build industries around our offspring and their talents? The anxiety and economic hardship that workers of Sandals will experience are nothing new; they are repetitive fouls from the capitalist’s playbook. It’s just a re-run of the same old sequel: episode 1, starring Moody Stuart; episode 2, starring Allen Stanford; episode 3, starring Butch Stewart.

All these re-runs have the same ending; the workers lose. But when will we start taking full and collective responsibility for our economic destiny? Continuously, our intelligentsia refuses to invest meaningfully in Antigua and

Barbuda to provide employment for our own. By intelligentsia I mean the top 20% of our older academic achievers. In fact, this class is prominent in the brain drain exodus, sometimes flaunting education for prestige and personal development, but not for local economic production and our collective liberation. Metaphorically speaking, this class has learned to fish, but it is not fishing. It is looking for the bottom 80% to be entrepreneurs. In my view, it is time that the top 20% envision an economic endgame to produce, and to recapture the landscape. I am not letting the politicians off the hook, but it is also my respectful opinion that the economically delinquent top 20% needs to pitch in to assist our desperate and wit-exhausted politicians, who are left economically stranded, genuflecting to foreign investors – even on the Sabbath. Endgames are the embodiment of vision and mission statements. For example, Walt Disney’s previous mission statement: Make People Happy. Or the woman who was so intoxicated by Carnival spirits and revelry that she told Calypsonian Stingray, “Do as You Like with Me.” Perhaps a more sobering, uplifting and dignified endgame is: “Never Again.” But let me continue with an economic relationship between the top 20% and the bottom 80%. In the last fifty (50) years virtually every major and minor enterprise created by the bottom 80% of African Antiguans, in and around the city of St. John’s, has disappeared. Here are some of my time: John I. Martin, Keith Edwards Wholesale, Dicky Lake’s Supermarket, Daniel Bakery, The National Bakery, Mary King Bakery, Laurent Drug Store, Mark’s Restaurant, Brother B’s Restaurant, Bailey’s Store, O’Neil Pharmacy, Shannon’s Upholstery, Wallace, Graham Supermarket, Alexander’s, Masses House, Stanley R. Walter Store, Cornwall Supermarket, Chelsea Electrical and Refrigeration, Outlet Printery, Benjies Department Store, H. C. Grant, Christian Windows and Doors, Food City.

And the list is increasing…

With few exceptions, the offspring of these early commercial pioneers have received tertiary education and have become members of the top 20% class. As the above closures would suggest, the economic and entrepreneurial baton was not passed, received and relayed. There has been no transition from a merchant class to an educated productive class. As such, when compared to our ethnicities, our top 20% has not acquired as much capital by the means of local commercial activity to create meaningful employment, and to financially assist our artists: musicians, painters, sculptors, poets, etc. As this trend is indicating, the typical African Antiguan family enterprise struggles to endure the second generation. Is there a communication gap or a philosophical divide between generations? Do the parents not trust their offspring? Is it offspring envy? Do the offspring scorn its parent’s business model, not understanding that assets are generally accumulated across generations, starting from very humble beginnings? What is the reason for this generational dissonance? Is it that African Antiguan businesses are poor at succession planning? This is perhaps a phenomenon that requires in-depth research and analysis. This economic discontinuity also means that acquired entrepreneurial wisdom and intelligence are not significantly transferred to or inherited by the offspring.

This creates an undesirable disruption in the continuance of economic enterprise and culture, as the nation struggles with the unemployment problems. Generally speaking, this IT generation, which is arguably void of the cultural moorings of its parents, is starting economically from scratch, again. Economist, Professor Thomas Piketty, in his book CAPITAL in the Twenty-First Century – a discourse on wealth, capital and income distributions, highlights the significant contribution of inheritance in related economic mobility. Do the African Antiguan offspring tend to prefer education as prestige – climbing a perceived social ladder, as compared to inheritable enterprises that require vision, discipline, sacrifice and frugality to successfully manage and expand?

As an example, I know of a successful organic farmer who cultivates a sizable acreage, and who has an aversion for artificial preservatives. To his resignation, his offspring is off to study AI – Artificial Intelligence. This disconnection between generations appears to be a pervasive African Antiguan problem, affecting our abilities to develop long-term enterprises and to transition to secondary production. So far, I have been sketching an observed generational disconnection in some Antiguan Black family enterprises and talents over the past fifty (50) years, and the fact that during that very same period, the offspring of Freed People have acquired unprecedented tertiary education. I have not discerned a comparable increase in corporations or co-operatives to suggest that our offspring have moved on to adopt those business models. In fact, I know that in the IT sector most are jobbing and freelancing – doing their own little thing on the side. Let me share with you one of the inherited dilemmas of our newly educated offspring. I am in the software development business, so I have met a few accountants, HR managers and IT professionals. Their “abundance” has led to this new trend; they are all working on contracts: twelve (12), eighteen (18), twenty-four (24), or thirty-six (36) months – if lucky, mainly in the hospitality and food supply sectors. There is basically no full and open-ended employment for these young qualified offspring anymore. One actually told me that because of this, they have become very proficient in writing resumes and job applications. Needless to say, they can hardly acquire a bank mortgage to construct a home, or start an enterprise. However, they can – and often do, purchase used cars online. We need to create new economic models and relationships for our offspring, by looking at other linkages between their managerial, technical and enterprising abilities.

For example, take a look at my neighbor of the 80% class, a road-side master automobile mechanic, who desperately needs administrative and technical assistance. What if Kebra the accountant, Marsha the business major, Deon the Information Technology wizard and Joyce the HR manager, harmoniously and respectfully rallied around Roy, the master mechanic? Just imagine the LED sign… Roy’s Professional Auto Repair Shop – the Trade-in Killer. We need to incentivize this entrepreneurial convergence and model for our offspring.

I have borrowed the term Freed People from Natasha Lightfoot, who used it in her book, Troubling Freedom. To my mind, Lightfoot used that term and wrapped it in a very creative narrative to zoom in on the predicament of a people in limbo – freed but still not free. As such, she mitigated some distractions of racial labeling, thereby moving a human struggle to the fore of her discourse. However, shouldn’t Freed People – even when they are celebrating, be always suspiciously looking over their shoulders, in perhaps a phobic and relentless pursuit to secure and extend freedom? Shouldn’t that be a primary agenda item of our curricula from kindergarten to university? Isn’t that what our education is also for – never again, but freedom? Are we just laid-back, with eyes wide shut, counting chickens, waiting for the Reparations bonanza, which from current projections, our offspring will most likely squander – one way or the other? Professor Hilary Beckles, in his book Britain’s Black Debt, which I believe should be compulsory reading in secondary schools – here, said this: “The British state believes that the longer the reparations case is denied, the more remote it will become. These officials seem to believe that as each generation comes to maturity, the less concerned they will be with matters of history. Playing the time game is considered their best strategy. Future generations of black youth, they believe, will have less interest in the experience of their forebears and are unlikely to commit politically to matters such as reparations.” Having recognized Natasha Lightfoot for the classification, Freed People, it appears to me that as Educated Freed People, we are losing our way; we are to some extent off course. So far, I have mainly looked at disconnections on the merchandizing side of the enterprise equation. Now, I would like to reflect at the consumption patterns and preferences of our offspring. If the world is a stage, then our offspring are members of the supporting cast, playing the roles of walking mannequins, spiritedly – but unaware, displaying our trade deficit.

Smart phones from China, leather shoes from Spain, ankle chains from Switzerland, tattoo ink from Japan, respectfully I will not numerate the items between the knees and the shoulders, gold chains from USA, lipstick from France, and false hair from India – all mainly acquired online, circumventing local brick and mortar enterprises. This deficit will be paid, if not by trade and foreign exchange earnings, then eventually by the currency of land. As the Russians say, the only place you can find free cheese is in a rat’s trap. Our offspring are offline, disconnected from our Troubling Freedom, schooled with a curricula that is history neutral, consumption loaded, pride insensitive, production indifferent, past experiences submerged, future blind-sided and liberation aborted.

When will the Educated Freed People rise to the occasion and eradicate this recursive pathological indifference in our offspring? To elevate their minds, straighten their posture, and sharpen their sense of justice and worth… Perhaps the success of the African Reparation Movement hinges on this. An Englishman, with whom I worked, once told me this: “Do you know what’s wrong with you guys; you don’t nip things in the bud.” Micro biologist, Ernst Mayer in his book, What evolution IS, said this: “Indeed, the selection event is to favor individuals that have succeeded in finding a progressive answer to current problems. The summation of all these steps is evolutionary progress.” In one of the most disturbing books I have read, Childhood Under Siege, Joel Bakan explains how corporations assemble the finest psychologists and marketing experts, who use concepts such as the Nag Factor – how children nag parents to purchase products – and addiction, to influence the youth, who internalize the subliminal suggestions of about thirty thousand (30, 000) video commercials per year. Incidentally, they also use racial factors when marketing to Black communities. Among other things, here is a fact Bakan investigates:

“A massive and growing kid marketing industry is targeting children with increasingly callous and devious methods to manipulate their forming and vulnerable emotions, cultivate compulsive behavior, and addle their psyches with violence, sex, and obsessive consumerism.” Brothers and sisters there is urgency to design and rollout new curricula of enlightenment for our offspring. As I have tried to show, the lack of formal education is no longer our major problem. We have the tools and the talents. But our mindset – the pregame – is wrong. This new curricula for our offspring must focus on pregame requirements to execute the economic endgame strategies as our celebrated Warri Grand Masters do – as they tally seeds. The Indians are doing it, the Chinese are doing it. They have moved homework to the classroom, and the Chinese are teaching mathematics at the rate of the slowest student. That is, they do not move on or change the topic until every student masters it. We must teach our Troubling Freedom and history at the rate of the slowest student, until they all understand. This too is a prerequisite and beginning of a new economy. As the Chinese are demonstrating, patience with our offspring could be a most rewarding virtue… I thank you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lawrence A. Jardine is the founder of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy. He is a Software Developer and, the founder and manager of DMS – Data Management Solutions Ltd., which is the leading payroll software solutions developer in Antigua and Barbuda. Lawrence is a graduate of the Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology, Ontario Canada, where he studied electronics and developed his love for computer programming. He has worked for two parent companies, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Voice of Germany, for over twenty-five (25) years. He has also been the national champion in two (2) disciplines: Pocket Billiards and Dominoes. In 2006, he won the National Independence Short Story Competition. Lawrence is a Professional Billiard Instructors Association (PBIA located in the USA) Certified Pocket Billiards Instructor. He is also the chairman of the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee (LTHMC).

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Happy Pub Season to Bernice L. McFadden

Dope African-American sister with Bajan ties whom I actually met when we jointly facilitated a workshop at the BIM Lit Fest in 2016 in Barbados. The Image Award winning author and Professor (in one of my favourite cities, New Orleans) continues to do dope things, and one of them is the release of her latest book Praisesong for the Butterflies. Interesting (and unfamiliar) topic. Let her explain:

Shout out to the African American Literary Club which continues to amp up authors of colour.

We’ve covered Bernice here on the site before in Reading Room and Gallery 20 (Interviews section where she’s talking about her last publication The Book of Harlan).  Wadadli Pen participants received copies of McFadden’s Glorious back in 2016; thanks, to Pamela Arthurton. I’ve only read one of her books so far, though, and that was Sugar, which I also reviewed here on the blog. Look forward to reading more. Congrats, Bernice.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Reading Room and Gallery 30

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Share by excerpting and linking, so to read the full story or see all the images, or other content, you will need to go to the source. No copyright infringement is intended. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 30th one which means there are 29 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.JCH

POETRY

“How many tied cotton bags of crystallized sugar were you and your father’s other
bastards given to suckle? So you could, years later, find yourself” – Poems by Jacqueline Bishop

THE BUSINESS

“You need an agent because you’ll be so eager to publish that you’ll pay them” – Tayari Jones

BLOG

‘More forgiveness and understanding.  I talk quite unexpectedly to Ronald Bickram.  (There’s no such thing as an innocent introduction.)  He was an entrant in the non-fiction category for the Bocas Prize.  He admits his work needed more vigorous editing.  “I went back and found a mistake on every page!”  We have a frank talk about the need for work to be in the best place possible before being released to the world, and for judges and entrants to have conversations similar to ours.  “For writers like me to know what to do—how to make the work better,” he says.  We shake on this, and he tells me he has a relative in Black Rock, St Michael, not far from where my mother grew up in Barbados.  She has a Chinese restaurant with local flare, Wing Kwong.  “Tell Rene you met me!”’ – NGC Bocas Lit Fest 2018—Day by Day by Robert Edison Sandiford

CREATIVES ON CREATING

‘Lovers Rock is also about what she goes through in the industry: “I walk into a room and I’ve had my own label for the past five to seven years and the energy is still like, ‘Who do you think you are?'” she says. “I finally was like, ‘No, no, no, you’re not gonna keep disrespecting me.’ The response to the question, ‘Who do I think I am?’ is always, ‘I know who I am, a queen. Who do you think you are?'” – British soul-pop singer Estelle talking to NPR about her new West Indian inspired lovers rock album.

FICTION

“People assume all kinds of things about you when you’re silent. That you’re stupid. That you’re smart. That you can’t hear. That you can’t communicate. That it’s a religious thing. That it’s an attention-seeking thing. Over the years, Ghillie heard them all. The religious thing was closest to the mark, although truth be told, his motives were far from holy. He made a vow to speak only when he had something worth saying, but he persisted with it because of how crazy it made people. Social workers, teachers, policemen, doorsteppers, they couldn’t bear his silence. Sympathy turned to rage in a surprisingly short space of time, particularly if he didn’t meet their eyes. It gave him a perverse sense of pleasure, saying nothing as they wheedled and cajoled, pleaded and threatened.” – Lynda Clark’s ‘Ghillie’s Mum’

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“Laura had passed her entire life in a world of dreams. She dreamed of being beautiful, but was decidedly plain. She dreamed of living in a big house, but lived in a shack. She dreamed of having a large family, but had only her elderly parents.” – an Excerpt from Chechen Writer Zalpa Bersanova’s Novella ‘The Price of Happiness’

NON-FICTION

“Cap’n Tim Meaher, he tookee thirty-two of us. Cap’n Burns Meaher he tookee ten couples. Some dey sell up de river. Cap’n Bill Foster he tookee de eight couples and Cap’n Jim Meaher he gittee de rest. We very sorry to be parted from one ’nother. We seventy days cross de water from de Affica soil, and now dey part us from one ’nother. Derefore we cry. Our grief so heavy look lak we cain stand it. I think maybe I die in my sleep when I dream about my mama.” – Zora Neale Hurston ‘Barracoon’ excerpt

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“I was reluctant to ask him where he was going, what he was doing these days.  Part of me was always reluctant to ask this of my friends from primary school, absurdly afraid to embarrass them.  At 14, I had been awarded a partial bursary to a private boarding school in the city, which got its prestige from selling itself as an international school, thus attracting children of ministers, ambassadors and the wealthiest in the country.  My single mother was a primary school teacher, with a permanent government job, so in primary school I had been considered fairly well-off.  As a boarder, I was one of the school’s poorest students, often called to the principal’s office because my mother had missed paying her share of my tuition.  The fact that I attended this school, taking French and Drama lessons, around students who spoke English all the time and talked back to their teachers, meant that the trajectory of my life had taken a sharp turn from my primary school friends.  Whenever I saw them, I worked hard to reassure them that I had not changed, that I was still the same person who had gathered with them over the soft sorghum porridge we ate at break time.” – Good Manners by Gothataone Moeng

INTERVIEW

“PS: When did you decide to pursue your art and writing full time?

Danielle: There was one very clear moment in 2011 when I just could not ignore the pull toward a creative life anymore. It felt like drowning very slowly, little by little each day. I had no idea how I would make it work financially, but I had to leap anyway and have faith. Before this I was an English teacher, and although I loved, and still love, working with children, my heart was pulling me toward something else. Not one day goes by where I am not thankful for the chance to live and work in my purpose.” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune interview

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“When I actively started thinking about what I wanted to publish, Una Marson’s Pocomania was on the list. I had been coming across the name of that play as a quintessential Jamaican work since I was doing my BA. I then learned that it was housed in the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ)  and I thought, that needs to change. If that play was so important, why don’t more contemporary people have access to it? One of the key things to know is that without the printing press, we would probably have forgotten Shakespeare by now. We need to give more of our playwrights similar access. Publishing the works of our playwrights is a part of how we acknowledge, celebrate and keep good work from disappearing into the ether. I, therefore, made my first proposal to publish the works more than a few years ago and the timing wasn’t right. But finally, last year it came to be, and the more I learned about Una Marson, the happier I was that we had managed to publish this.” – Tanya Batson-Savage

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“Many of the older writers are still important: Walcott, Brathwaite, Naipaul, Harris, Rhys, Lamming, Hearne among others. Lorna Goodison, Mervyn Morris, Earl Lovelace, Ian McDonald, the late Victor Questel, Dionne Brand and those who follow that first ‘Golden Age’ generation. Many new voices have arrived, many of whose works are rewarded by big prizes: Kwame Dawes, Claudia Rankine, Marlon James, Vahni Capildeo, Kei Miller, Vladimir Lucien, Tiphanie Yanique, Ishion Hutchinson, Shivanee Ramlochan, Ann-Margaret Lim, Richard Georges, Jennifer Rahim among others. These and their many other colleagues are important. Time will tell, of course, how truly important and significant they are. Then there are many Caribbean writers who have grown up in the diaspora: Caryl Phillips, Zadie Smith, Andrea Levy and others. Peepal Tree Press, Carcanet and Papillotte Press are doing a great job in publishing the works of the older and newer writers. And we have not even touched writers from the other language areas of the Caribbean.”    – St. Lucian poet and archivist John Robert Lee interview with Caribbean Literary Heritage

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“In Ghana, I had worked in theater and for Ghana Television. In Barbados, I wanted to carry on theater directing. Since the theater companies were self-segregated, I (being white and nervous about intruding across evident racial lines) went to the one known for white or near-white members and a lot of European plays. They asked me if I had a play to suggest. Death and the King’s Horseman was an ambitious project to do outside Nigeria, requiring a lot of solid grounding in Soyinka’s cultural contexts. It was also ambitious as to the casting, in Barbados. It is a powerful story about English colonial intrusion on an ancient culture, told, as Soyinka carefully explains in his introduction to the play, from within Yoruba social space, focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the title character. He and his society are the core of the play, and so most of the main parts require actors of African descent. To find those actors, I needed to upset the self-segregation common in Barbados theater at the time, and I approached a group of black actors and writers. Earl Warner, later very well known as a major theatrical figure in the region, agreed to play the main role, Elesin. The white actors for the colonial parts came from the company producing the play. The production involved about fifty people, a fairly large budget, and a lot of work.” – Elaine Savory interviewed by Kelly Baker Josephs

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“Our societies are not just diverse but complex, convoluted, so the poetry has to stretch itself formally to cope.” – Pamela Mordecai interviewed by Kelly Baker Josephs

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“What I find myself most drawn to and excited by (both in my own reading and in programming the festival) are voices and perspectives which are not what anyone would expect. I think that many of us, even here at home in the region –  we should know better – we sometimes have very narrow ideas of what the Caribbean is, or should be. What is a Caribbean subject or voice, or topic or question or anxiety, and I’m not keen on that. I think we are far more various than we give ourselves credit for.” – Nicholas Laughlin interview for Caribbean Literary Heritage

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“It took coming here to see that my voice was a voice that needed to be heard.” – Brenda Lee Browne, Real Talk with Janice Sutherland at Phenomenal Woman  And read more Antiguan and Barbudan artists discussing their art and more here on the site.

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“The irony of the Internet, which was supposed to rob us of our attention span and be the death of journalism, is that it has actually promoted a new passion for longform nonfiction. It’s also given us more opportunities to find and discover poets, who are a big part of the movement towards essays as well, since they are doing work that is increasingly hybrid. In general, the best thing I can say about social media and the Internet is that it has allowed a lot of people to bypass the gatekeepers, such that I don’t know if there’s a real gate any more.” – Alexander Chee

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib/World Arts News

RIPs

To The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Check out this video on her early years among other things in the Reading Room and Gallery, and my own picks for favourite Aretha music.

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On the passing of Nobel Laureate, Man Booker Winner; and House for Mr. Biswas, Miguel Street et al Trinidadian Author V. S. Naipaul.

“In many ways embodying the contradictions of the postcolonial world, Mr. Naipaul was born of Indian ancestry in Trinidad, went to Oxford University on a scholarship and lived the rest of his life in England, where he forged one of the most illustrious literary careers of the last half-century. He was knighted in 1990.” – from his obituary in The New York Times

“If you are offended by his remarks, then be doubly aware: he would push as many of your buttons as he could perceive, just to have fun watching you lose your mind. The book of his collected interviews is uproarious just for that alone.” – Kirk Meighoo. Read his full commentary at Caribbean News Now.

‘On the other hand, you almost wanted him to fade, not because his star was too bright, but because it had become incandescent with shame. He was an embarrassment as much of riches as of vile, venomous bigotry. In an example of misogyny so blatant as to almost seem comical, Naipaul argued that women could not write as well as men—and that, so as to avoid wasting his time reading the products of such inferior minds, he had learnt to tell from the first few paragraphs of any book the gender of its author. With a blend of demented pride, blunt honesty, and self-flagellation, he told his authorized biographer, Patrick French, just how he had beaten and bruised Margaret Gooding, the Anglo-Argentine lover he met in 1972. “I was very violent with her for two days with my hand; my hand begun to hurt,” he was recorded as telling French in The World Is What It Is (2008). “She didn’t mind it at all,” he continued. “She thought of it in terms of my passion for her. Her face was really bad. She couldn’t appear in public. My hand was swollen. I was utterly helpless,” he added, somewhat surprisingly. “I have enormous sympathy for people who do strange things out of passion.”’ – Gabrielle Bellot. Read her full commentary on the enigma that was V. S. Naipaul at Lit Hub.

Big Up to

“Internationally renowned dub poet Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze was honoured with the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Jamaica Poetry Festival, in association with the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ).

The event took place at the Jamaica Poetry Festival, at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre on Sunday, August 12, 2018.” Read more.

Finally

If you were a fan of the Blogger on Books series on this site, remember, the series has continued over on my Jhohadli blog; latest installment The Nakedness of New by Switzerland based Antigua born poet Althea Romeo Mark.

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Here’s some additional reading, the August edition of the Poui Con-texts journal: POUI Con texts 2018 August

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love